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Thread: Source for Port Orford Cedar

  1. #1
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    Default Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Hi -

    I'm wondering if anyone has current info on where I might find some POC. Currently, I need:

    10) 2x10x14
    14) 2x8x14
    14) 2x8x12

    I need them clear for planks. Flat sawn is preferred, as that's what the existing planks are. I also need someone who will ship to VT or ME.

    I bought my last batch from Keith @ Easy Creek Lumber in Oregon, but his web site says he's not taking new orders & he hasn't replied to emails. Too bad, as he is great to deal with. Before I found Keith, I talked to Bear Creek Lumber & they acted as if they were doing me a tremendous favor by deigning to speak with me - so I'd rather find someone else if I can.

    Ideas? TIA.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    You might try Edensaw in Port Townsend, maybe? Other than that, what you really need is a time machine to go back before Reagan appointed James Watt to be Secretary of the Interior.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    A slightly crazy idea: Portland Oregon area ad in craigslist has a bunch of Port Orford Cedar planted for arrow making. No idea of size or quality, and someone has to cut and mill, but maybe worth putting away for someones boat of the future?

    http://portland.craigslist.org/nco/spo/3260638923.html

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    That stuff is rare as hens teeth.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Figures it'd be hard to find. 3 years ago I got that because it was 1/3 the price of AYC. Maybe that's changed? Or is AYC just as tough to get?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    check this website for a list of retailers in the New England area:

    http://www.princetonforestproducts.c...tributors.html it's decking material, but they might have what you need.

    also try:

    Selectwood
    275 Constitution Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801 800.922.5655

    Goosebay Sawmill & Lumber
    Contact: Carl Mahlstedt
    Address: 83 Dover Road
    Route 4
    Chichester, NH 03258
    Fax: 603-798-3254
    E-Mail: goosebay@comcast.net
    Web Address: www.goosebaylumber.com
    "The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.
    -Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Well - seeing as how I'm driving Rte. 4 tomorrow, I'll check out Goose Bay! Thanks

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Please let me know what you find out, Gareth. Paul Gartside has an interest in finding good clear boatbuilding lumber on the northeast coast also.
    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

    -Mark Twain

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Goose Bay Lumber in Chichester, NH had a fair bit this summer. I rebuilt the thwarts in my Beverly with it.


    EDIT someone beat me to the punch.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Rumor has it that Port Orford Cedar is scarce because the Japanese bought all they could get for the rebuilding of their Shinto Shrines and Buddhist Temples. Seems this is done every hundred years or so and they had run out of their own materials for doing the work. I also remember hearing tales of ships carrying logs of it stacked high on their decks some thirty years ago. That means that the holds were full too! According to informed sources, it all went to the highest bidder!
    Maybe they also used it for facing the plywood they made out of it for and then sold back to us! No matter what, it is scarce, very scarce! Alaskan yellow is getting scarce too so, I you plan to substitute Alaskan for Port Orford Cedar you had better get your paws on all you can afford now, before it is too late for that fine wood as well.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 09-10-2012 at 07:49 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    There is also an incurably fatal root fungus workings its way through the Washington and Oregon watersheds. Future not bright for this species.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Hey Garret, we were out sailing Saturday in that crazy wind, 20kts+, and we followed a gorgeous yawl from the cruise ship terminal all the way out to Whitehead Passage. It was sailing just jib and jigger, solo. When we got to the cut the wind was blocked by the cliffs on Cushing Island and we were fighting an incoming tide so we basically came to a standstill next to the yawl. We complimented him on his boat and got to talking. After a few minutes it dawned on me who I was talking to and I said "are you Garret's brother?" Yep. We mentioned that we were going to a party on Peaks that night and he said "at Mary's house?" Yep. So not only did I meet your brother out sailing but we hung out with him at the party that night.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Cool! Thanks for the pic! Glad you got to meet him.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd McClure View Post
    There is also an incurably fatal root fungus workings its way through the Washington and Oregon watersheds. Future not bright for this species.
    Seems like I've read about something similiar relating to Sitka Spruce. You are in fact aware of root fungus problems with PO and/or AYC?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    Seems like I've read about something similiar relating to Sitka Spruce. You are in fact aware of root fungus problems with PO and/or AYC?
    I learned about it today.

    I must say I'm currently depressed. I thought I'd originally gotten enough wood, but decided/discovered that to do the job right I need more & I don't want to do a half-@$$ed job on Neoga - she deserves being done right.

    All this is not good news!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Brooklin Boat Yard used Port Orford cedar in this boat http://www.maineboats.com/boat-launchings/ginger

    and this one

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    I suspect that what you are referring to as "root fungus" is actually simply frostbite. It's been well documented in AYC, (which has just been reclassified as a cypress, not a cedar) and I'd not be surprised if it affects POC as well, although the decline in availability of POC is well documented to be caused by logging pressure for import to Asia. Japan was reportedly buying up all the top grade stuff and, adding insult to injury, shipping it unmilled so our milllers lost both the wood and the work. There was talk about "restoring temples," but I think that was a lot of BS to take the heat off of the Japanese who about six weeks after they were torturing, beheading, and working American prisoners of war to death, suddenly became our new best friends. I'm betting a lot more of it went into shoji screens, wall paneling, and other consumer uses than into "temples."

    Anyway, what's happened to AYC is that the warming weather (call it "global warming," if you must... it's just been warmer the last few years) melts the snow around the roots. When it gets cold, the roots freeze. The trees are stressed and die. I know that seems counterintuitive: warmer weather causes the roots to suffer freeze damage, but the snow actually held some of the ground warmth and served to protect the roots from freezing.

    This is actually an historic pattern that has repeated itself over the centuries throughout the AYC range.





    While there are significant die-backs in the more temperate areas of the range which still get snow and freezing temperatures, AYC is doing fine where there's no heavy freeze in the winter or where it is plenty cold and the snow doesn't melt. This species is known over the centuries to "travel" following climate changes. AYC trees often live 700 or 1200 years. They seed and readily propagate outward. When things aren't so good for them up north, they grow towards the south and vice versa, albeit at a slow snail's pace.

    I can't explain any shortage of AYC on the market at present, since there is plenty of it and it isn't particularly protected. That would suggest that it simply a function of the marketplace. It is so much more economically effective to harvest plantation grown and, in BC, natural DF stock, the logging companies don't want to have to go in and cut and market anything else. From what I hear (not much, though) there are still independent loggers harvesting AYC and small mills still sawing it.

    Interesting reading about AYC "migration" for forestry wonks: http://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/2...hennon_001.pdf

    The good news is that owing to its great decay resistance the dead AYC is every bit as good as the living stuff. Tests done on trees in long dead stands show good yields of clear undecayed lumber in trees that have been dead even as long as 100 years. USFS says, "The distribution of dead cedar forests totaling more than a half-million acres is well documented and available now in GIS format. Our vegetation plots indicate the zones and related site features where dead cedar trees of commercial size can be found. We have completed a line of research on the value of wood from dead yellow-cedars. For trees dead up to 30 years, wood volume and grade recovery, and concentration of heartwood chemical compounds were all comparable to wood from live trees. Only modest reductions in these values were detected in wood from trees dead 80 years. Remarkably, all strength properties were retained, even in wood from trees dead up to 80 years. In sum, these studies demonstrate that dead cedar forests represent an astonishingly valuable wood resource for salvage recovery. Shifting a portion of the timber harvest to dead cedar forests would divert some of harvest away from areas where yellow-cedar is healthy (i.e., suitable habitat). To predict the future composition and productivity in these declining forests, more knowledge is required on the vigor of remaining trees and successional trajectories after the death of yellow-cedar overstory. Such information is needed on how these forests are changing, whether or not salvage harvest activities occur."

    Seems like anybody with the means to do so could go into those dead stands and make quite a nice purse of change.
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 09-10-2012 at 09:11 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    I did a little research, and apparently several resistant cultivars of POC were recently developed. They are being planted in areas hard hit by the fungus. The fungus may of course mutate as well, but hope is not lost! The forest service has several interesting online management plans for POC, much in the vein of the readings cited by Bob Cleek in the above post. My neighbor, a wildlife biologist, had told me about the fungus several years ago, but I had not learned of the new cultivars until this afternoon.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Thanks for the detailed explanations!

    Here in VT, snow was called both "poor man's insulation" & "poor man's fertilizer". A deep layer of snow around a house helps insulate it (just like the roots). It also seems to help fix nitrogen in farmer's fields - an important thing for corn especially.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Not for nothin' but..... in 2000 I used POC for the front decking on the house here..... Because it was reputed to have such great rot resistance. In 2009, Slim Pless fell through one of the rotted out deck boards at Margo's EBS. (Actually, he didn't actually fall all the way through. He felt it going, and moved just in time.... Unlike Keith this year, who was present for the annual rotted board failure....)
    True, most places in the world aren't as foul and soggy as North Guilford, CT.... But..... Still..... 9 years isn't very good at all.... And that had been treated with some sort of toxic copper based stuff.....

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Can't explain your problem lefty but,

    This root freeze phenomena is what I read about relating to sitka spruce, quite alarming. By the way, I do call it global climate change. Human driven, carbon spewing global climate change, warmimg is the most obvious effect. The science is in.

    You've almost got it right Bob. But the reference to Japanese 'temples' is not simply a flight of fancy. As I understand it, post and beam construction has played a more dominant role for a far longer period of time in Japanese construction than in north america. PO and AYC are well suited to post and beam and other sensibilities of the Japanese tradition which I probably don't understand. Simply put, they raided our west coast softwoods. Our stick house construction, requiring lesser quality solid lumber, has come on strong in Japan only in more recent decades. At least this is the story I've heard from an architect. And some of it came back milled, as you say a double loss to local outfits.

    Interesting to hear of the experimentation with PO, also comments about salvage AYC. Forest salvageabilty (is that a word?) of these softwoods appear to contrast sharply with the dangers of
    lurking rot spore in DF.

    The one caveat about AYC in my mind is dimensional stability. PO, not sure.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Hvalsoe View Post
    The one caveat about AYC in my mind is dimensional stability. PO, not sure.
    According to the literature, at least, AYC is rated as one of the most dimensionally stable softwoods around due to its slow growing characteristics. Or so they say.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    this thread has gone off on a bit of a tangent, but if anyones looking for port oxford cedar, chesapeake light craft in annapolis MD lists it among the lumber they sell... http://www.clcboats.com/shop/boat-bu...stic-imported/

    i've never bought from them and i don't really know what their lumber prices are like but ive heard good things about the company in the past.



    edit: just realized the dimensions offered won't suit your needs but ill leave it up in case this thread gets found in search results in the future
    Last edited by thedutchtouch; 09-11-2012 at 12:49 PM.
    -Justin

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    I appreciate craft as much as the next guy, but someone has had too much granola.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    According to the literature, at least, AYC is rated as one of the most dimensionally stable softwoods around due to its slow growing characteristics. Or so they say.
    I have not found ayc to be anything less than about ..perfect.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    "I need them clear for planks. Flat sawn is preferred, as that's what the existing planks are. I also need someone who will ship to VT or ME."

    When do you need this (AYC?) for and how much are you willing to pay? / Jim

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    According to the literature, at least, AYC is rated as one of the most dimensionally stable softwoods around due to its slow growing characteristics. Or so they say.
    Yes, there used to be a guy that would quote from a book regarding its stability. That guy has evidently taken his marbles and gone home...but I recall distinctly Frank Prothero saying that he considered AYC to "come and go too much." I would believe him rather than our erstwhile book quoting expert.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    " I would believe him rather than our erstwhile book quoting expert."

    I've heard distinctly that yellow cedar should be used below the waterline and red cedar for topsides on west coast planked boats. I'd be guessin' as to the reasons. / Jim

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    I indeed, agree with Bob Cleek, AYC is a cypress, even the smell is a dead give away to that. Legendary Yachts uses it for decking on their Bounty and Ticonderoga replicas. Even of grain, easy to work, resistant to weather, highly resitant to rot and dimsionally stable and lighter than teak, it is often my choice for planking and decking on quality built boats.

    I was part of an exchange symposium of Japanese and Western wood workers, who work with Japanese tools and techniques several years ago. At Palomar College in S. CA we built in three days a "Tori" gate out of wood from a donated Torry pine. Every cut was made at the direction of the master carpenter. We layed out and cut mortis and tennon joints on round logs without any trial fitting. At the end of three days, it all went together like a giant Tinker Toy or Leggo Set. It was fifteen feet high and twenty feet long!
    The master carpenter told me that in Japan he and his crew were engaged in the rebuilding of the Budist temples and shrines which are in almost constant rebuild over there. He also told me how much he likes our Port Orford Cedar which they use for columns and beams.
    Jay

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    You could try Bear Creek Lumber.
    www.bearcreeklumber.com
    Joe Hammer or Merle Kirkely can help you out. They ship all over the country.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Hi -

    Responses to a few posts:

    Neoga is 71 years old & her original planking (still on the boat) is 100% AYC. She lived 20-30 years in the PNW & then moved to CA for 10-15, then 10-20 years in Florida with little or no maintenance followed by 15 years of the bottom being coated in epoxy. All the planks above the waterline are beautiful clear wood & in beautiful condition, but most of the bottom planks are pretty tired. However, even after all that, 30% of them could be reused (if it weren't more work to fit new around the old). So - I'd say AYC is damn good stuff. When I started the bottom project 2 1/2 years ago, AYC was $15/bd. ft & POC was $4.50 - so I went with POC. Sure is nice stuff to work with.

    According to my research, both AYC & POC are actually Cypresses.

    I need the wood ASAP - 2-3 weeks. I've talked to Goose Bay Lumber in NH (per recommendation above) & they are supposed to give me a quote tomorrow. They are going to look into both POC & AYC. They said to expect somewhere around $5.50-$6.00/bd ft. for the POC. Didn't say on the AYC.

    CLC certainly has a good rep, but I'm thinking shipping to Maryland & then to northern New England doesn't make a great deal of sense.

    I may have to go with Bear Creek, but as I said above, when I called them last time they acted like they were doing me a favor by spending 2 min. talking to me - so they will be my very last call. This was a $5,000 order that I said I'd send a certified check for. I may be nuts, but I consider that an order worth at least 5 min & a pleasant reaction! Yes - I realize it's a lumber yard & not LL Beans - but I have worked in a mill & several yards, so I have a clue.

    Thank you all for the responses & please drift the thread as you like! I've learned a ton (even though I swore I'd never work logging again, those stands of dead AYC are tempting) & hope to learn more.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    "I need the wood ASAP - 2-3 weeks."

    OK. Can't help you with that. / Jim

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Hi -
    ...

    CLC certainly has a good rep, but I'm thinking shipping to Maryland & then to northern New England doesn't make a great deal of sense.
    ...
    Their website says that they ship from Maine. Who knew?

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    clc may actually be a good option, from their website:
    The product line includes the species listed below, available in a range of lengths, widths, and thicknesses. Lumber can be quarter sawn or custom sawn and ordered green or kiln dried. Additionally, the mill can provide planing, straight-line ripping, high-quality resawing, and milling to a large selection of architectural molding patterns. Most orders from the list on this page will ship direct from Maine.

    To inquire about pricing, variety and availability, or to place an order, contact our lumber specialist,

    Joey Schott: joey@clcboats.com or 410-267-0137 ext. 15.
    -Justin

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    I appreciate craft as much as the next guy, but someone has had too much granola.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    If the folks @ Goose Bay don't come through I'll give CLC a try. Thanks!

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Source for Port Orford Cedar

    Highly likely that any order of the size that you're talking about, from CLC or most other "retail" suppliers, will be drop shipped from a wholesale yard like J.G. McIlvain. http://www.mcilvain.com/softwoods/other-softwoods/.... And that said.... Have you looked at them? (Wholesale yards)
    I've had nothing but excellent service, price, and product from JGM.....
    (ETA) You'll need to be a resale operation, as they don't do retail, but if that's a problem for you, I'd be happy to be your "agent".

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